Roast your damn chicken

For dinner tonight I roasted maryland portions of ethically raised chicken in a marinade suggested by Sabrina Ghayour: rose harissa, lemon zest and juice, sheep’s milk yoghurt, and I add a whack of flaky sea salt for my own reasons. I served it on buttered rice.

I’m here to tell you to roast your damn chicken. Don’t listen to those awful American and Aussie food writers who tell you the most important thing is keeping the chicken breast moist. They’ll tell you to cook it to an internal temperature where the nasty bugs are killed and no further, in case the meat dries out.

I’m here to tell you to cook the chook until cooked. There are worse things than chicken breast that requires cutting and chewing to eat it. Those worse things are perfectly moist but chalky, flavourless chicken. I would much prefer you cook the bird like they do in a supermarket rotisserie — until the drumsticks are kinda tough and a little chewy but the whole thing tastes like heaven.

And I’m here to tell you to marinade it beforehand in something intensely strong tasting — because chicken itself tastes like nothing — and let it sit in the marinade on your benchtop til it comes up to room temperature and start cooking it from there. It’ll take about 2 hours. Stop hyperventilating, you’ll be fine.


  • 2 chicken maryland pieces
  • 2 tbsp of Herbies dried rose harissa spice mix
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt of your choice

Combine the marinade ingredients, mix well, spoon over the maryland pieces.

Let marinade for 2 hours on your benchtop or on top of your fridge.

Roast in a pre-heated 180C oven for 45-50 mins until the chicken is deeply caramelised outside and the flesh is starting to come away from the bone. Don’t be afraid to pick it up with gloves and give the joint a gentle yank to see if the muscle is still tight or starting to relax (this is when it’s becoming edible).

Above all, cook until cooked. Don’t be temping that thing. It’s only going to taste better — chewier, more Maillard goodness — if it overcooks a little.

I’ll do a separate post about roasting your damn vegies.